Yesterday was an experimental day, as I had somewhat promised. I wanted a sourdough loaf, wanted some fruit in there too and also wanted to try some smaller rolls in addition to a loaf.
I added the fruit (which I pre plumped and drained the night before to try and decrease the impact of extra hydration coming from the sultanas) In the last knead and fold phase before shaping and the final proof. This gave a fairly good distribution of fruit within the bread.
The rolls (80g) were final proofed for about 1h less than the larger loaf (500g) in the end and baked together.
The rolls were great, nice and crusty top and kept their shape very well and had some good oven spring too. I would have liked more spring, but I think I over proof my bread as I am still learning. I was told they tasted good. The sourness was diminished though by the addition of the fruit, naturally. The crumb was a little denser than I was hoping for, but of course the fruit no doubt was the cause of that.
Then onto the larger loafs (no more pictures I am afraid). It was ok. The shaping was very difficult without a banneton or bowl and my attempt at a baton shape was good (compressed by a tea towel wrapped around it). However, it came out a little flat and oven spring was minimal. Again, I think the problem is in proofing times, but despite checking with the poke test it is still hard to decide when to bake or wait longer.
I also made a 500g wholemeal sourdough for my sister. That had a really good shape and was pleased with the proofing, but the crumb was a little too dense and I believe it should have been hydrated more (I had a level of 65%). In the end it looked ok and I feel I learned more about bread baking and understand some stages that really are critical for getting good loaves.
Thanks a lot for all your help, all the positive comments and encouragement the last couple of weeks, but this will be my last post for a long time as I am having to return to hospital in the coming days. I hope to return, but one never knows.
Take care and happy baking to all